4th Sunday of Advent (Year A)
Sunday 18th December, 2022
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Message from Canon Kristian
Dear sisters and brothers
As we enter the final week of the short Season of Advent, due to all the material preparations for the Christmas festivities, it is hard for many of us to find the time and space to focus on our own spiritual preparation; yet it is that spiritual preparation that is really the most important. If you can, perhaps take part in a weekday Mass this week or celebrate the Sacrament of Confession and Reconciliation. If this is not possible, at least find a few minutes daily when you can be still and open your mind and heart to the coming of Christ. Perhaps take the title of the “O” Antiphon for each day (these can be found on the back of the Newsletter) and reflect on for what – or better – for whom you are truly longing in your life at this time? How does God-made-human in Jesus fulfil a deeper longing? How is Christ the Wisdom, the Root, the Key, the Dawn, the Ruler in my life? How, where and why is God-with-me? Prayerful reflection on these questions will hopefully not only bring about a deeper personal insight into how Christ is born and living within each of us, but also enable us to be the gift of that transforming Presence for others and for our wounded world, so that all may know that God-is-with-us!
Our parish school, St John’s, has had a busy last week of term. The Early Years and Key Stage 1 children put on a very beautiful and moving presentation of the Nativity and our key Stage 2 children sang their hearts out at their Carol Service which was held in St Paul’s Church on Wednesday. It was so impressive to see our children take part in both events with their heart and soul. A special thanks goes to their teachers and support staff for their commitment and dedication to preparing and enabling our children in the celebration of our Faith.
After a very successful and abundant shared Christmas Lunch at St Boniface last Sunday, this Sunday afternoon we are holding a Christmas Party for our children. It is pleasing to see such a large number who have signed up for this, and I look forward to welcoming them and the families to the Hall at St James at 3.00pm.
In the Newsletter you will find an invitation to take part in an online event to reflect upon the issues surrounding sexual abuse within the Church which arose during the diocesan phase of the Synodal Journey. These issues were raised in one way or another in nearly all of the Diocesan Syntheses in this country and through Europe and formed part of the European Synthesis. The Working Document for the Continental Phase of the Synodal Journey has now been issued and I attach it to this email. I would encourage you to read and reflect upon it carefully, since there are many consistent strands of thought coming from across the world. A press release about the Safe Spaces initiative in the Church in England and Wales is also attached.
As Christmas Day falls on Sunday this year, the Christmas Mass times will be the usual weekend Mass times, apart from the addition of the Mass at Midnight at St James, which is preceded by half an hour of carols. I look forward to celebrating with all of you at one of the Masses over next weekend!
Monika Manser offers her weekly guide to prayerful contemplation on the Sunday Gospel and we have the latest number of Inspire from Deacon Peter. The Newsletter from St John’s School, with information regarding the Christmas Holiday Club at Tiverton High School, is also attached.
Please keep our sick, vulnerable and housebound parishioners is your prayer, thoughts and care at this time, not least due to the sharp down in temperature over the last few weeks.
Remembering you and your loved ones in prayer as always,
Canon Kristian Paver
Parish of St James & St Boniface
40 Old Road
Tiverton EX16 4HJ
Pre-Christmas Octave: 17-24 December
The weekend marks the start of the second part of the Season of Advent when the Church’s Liturgy is more directly focussed on the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago. Over these days, the ancient “O” Antiphons are sung as part of the service of Vespers or Evening Prayer of the Church and also used as Gospel Acclamations during Mass. No one knows their exact origin, but they have been sung since at least the 5th Century. Each antiphon begins with a title of Christ taken from the Old Testament. The “O” which starts each Antiphon expresses symbolically both our heartfelt yearning for the return of the Lord and also the emptiness in our lives and in our world that can only be filled by the presence and action of the living God made manifest in Christ and at work within us and within the whole of creation through the power of the Holy Spirit. Do make the most of these last days of Advent to prepare yourself spiritually for the celebration of the Incarnation of the Lord. An additional hour for Confessions has been scheduled at St James next Saturday, 24 December, 10.30am-11.30am.
Flame 2023 – Special Invitation to our Young People
Anyone between the ages of 14 and 21 please join our parish trip to Flame at Wembley Stadium, London, on Saturday 4 March 2023. Flame is the largest Catholic gathering in England and Wales and, next year, it is a great chance to hear from speakers like Robert Bilott, singer/songwriter Adenike and award winner Guvna B. Transport is from Cullompton on a coach so almost door to door! If parents want to know a bit more, please talk to Elaine Kelly, Siobhan Gilroy or Eduarda Santos as they have all been before. It’s such a great day out that the parish would like to treat our youngsters to this experience, so there is no cost to the individual. To get on the coach we need to book tickets now with the diocesan coordinator as there is a limited number on the group transport, so please give your name to the Parish Office as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Siobhan Gilroy will be leading our parish group.
Operation Warm New Clothes Update
We have been able to provide a number of Ukrainian and Mid Devon families with sets of clothes, nightwear and coats so far and CHAT are very grateful for the generosity of the parishioners. We would like to be able to continue to provide warm clothes throughout the next few months, so please keep your donations coming. Thank you!
Synodal Journey – An Online Conversation about Safeguarding
Many across the Diocese and within our own parish have been involved in the synodal process. From the feedback both locally and nationally it has become apparent that some significant questions and issues were raised around safeguarding, ranging from disappointment and concern over the handling of past abuse, its impact on both individuals and the reputation of the Church, as well as concern over what still needs to be done moving forward.
More recently, we have seen the release of the final report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which itself highlighted the terrible and damaging impact on children and families caused by abusers, including within the Church. Whilst looking back, this paints a grim picture of society as a whole. Looking forward, both nationally and locally, there is a great deal of work being undertaken both in the voluntary and statutory sector to prevent abuse from occurring, and to work with and support those who have been hurt in the past. We as a Diocese are playing our part in that not only within the Church, but in wider society.
Being aware that many of you may have questions around how safe our Church is, the implications arising from the IICSA report for us, and about safeguarding and the synodal journey, the Diocesan Safeguarding Office will be hosting an online event which will be led by Robert Brown, the Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator. The event will take place on Monday 9 January between 6.00pm-7.30pm.
If you would like to take part, please sign up at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/synodal-journey-a-conversation-about-safeguarding-tickets-471079791337 so that the Zoom meeting details can be sent to you. This will also provide you the opportunity to highlight any questions you might like answered at the meeting. Should you have any questions or concerns in the interim, please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Office on 01364 645430 or e-mail email@example.com.
Plymouth Diocesan Yearbook 2023
A few copies of the Diocesan Yearbook 2023, containing the up-to-date information about the Diocese, the Diocesan Offices, our parishes, the clergy and religious and our schools, are available for purchase at the entrance to church, priced £4.00.
The main Christmas Draw took place yesterday. A list of winners is at the back of church and you will also be contacted if necessary.
Christmas Flower Arranging Opportunities!
If you would like to provide a small flower arrangement for the church window shelves in St James this Christmas, there are containers and oasis ready for you on a table in the entrance to the hall. The colour scheme is red, gold and greenery. Please could they be returned to the church by Friday 23 December or the morning of 24 December.
We will be holding an Epiphany Concert on Sunday 8 January 2023 at 6.00pm in the Hall at St James and want to involve St John’s School, our young people, singers and musicians. It would be great if different groups could prepare something for the concert and make it a really good parish event. Please let Bridget Tosh know if you are able to contribute a song and/or a piece of music to the concert.
Masses and Events this week
Sunday 18th December – 4th Sunday of Advent
Saturday 17 December – Advent Weekday (O Wisdom)
- Holy Baptism of Mia Debek at 11.00am
- Vigil Mass at 6.00pm Tina Bassett (Ints)
Sunday 18 December – Fourth Sunday of Advent (A)
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface)
- Christmas Party for Children and Families at 3.00pm in the Hall
Monday 19 December – Advent Weekday (O Root of Jesse)
- Singing to Remember at 2.00pm in the Hall
Tuesday 20 December – Advent Weekday (O Key of David)
- Holy Mass at 9.00am
- Monthly Lunch 12noon-2.00pm in the Hall
Wednesday 21 December – Advent Weekday (O Rising Sun)
- Holy Mass at 12noon (at St Boniface)
Thursday 22 December – Advent Weekday (O King of Nations)
- Holy Mass in Polish at 6.00pm Pamela Lydon RIP (Anniv)
Friday 23 December – Advent Weekday (O Emmanuel)
- Adoration and Confessions from 11.30pm-12noon
- Holy Mass at 12noon
Saturday 24 December – Christmas Eve
- Confessions from 10.30am-11.30am
- Vigil Mass of the Nativity of the Lord at 6.00pm
- Carols at Christmas at 11.30pm followed by Midnight Mass
Sunday 25 December – Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
- First Mass of Christmas at 12midnight
- Holy Mass at 10.00am Pro Populo
- Holy Mass at 11.30am (at St Boniface)